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I followed the Blacksmiths needed thread because of the discussion on Unions and the pros and cons. I have learned some from that and would like to know more. It seems there is some passion on this subject as well.

I have been ardently anti union in the past and remain on that side of the argument mostly.

However, when you get away from a small company it is much easier to be just a faceless cog in the machine and tasked by some college boy to go do something that may get you hurt. A tip of the hat to those who fought for better working conditions when businessmen felt they could do whatever they wanted, it was ordained by God.

I am of the opinion that Big Labor looks a lot like Big Business tho and each want to keep more for themselves. The laborer is just the rag doll they are fighting over.

Since I don't know really, I started this thread to see what might come of it.

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Unions are a tool, but can be misused.

From my own experience in the grocer's union, it was a good thing. I got benefits after a year of PART TIME employment, I was represented by at least one senior member to explain disciplinary actions, and how to deal with them. The union was strong, but fair, so was the employers in general. Negotiations one year was over a nickle or something, and the members said to let it slide. Next time around the employers offered a dime and everybody was happy.

From my uncle's experience: He had a position as shipping/receiving labor loading/unloading trucks of palletized product at a small chemical and paint factory. They had profit sharing, Christmas bonus, medical slush fund and good benefits. Union came in, vote was had, and became union. The employer took to task the employees, axed profit sharing, Christmas bonus, and took medical down to the bone. Effectively all the employees took a 25% annual pay cut or more. Yes, this is "second hand" information.

My dad became a union to himself because his shop was not wanting to unionize. I believe this is from the mid 1970's to the late 1980's when Bridgestone bought Firestone. The _had_ to have a union so in the old Firestone books there is a "Krankowski union" that had members from a few shops. No dues, meetings, etc. It was a simple expedient to get around the rules for an otherwise fair employer.

I hope this is not just me rambling on.

Phil

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I only have one experience with a union, and it wasn't all that good. They took my dues,and the only thing that I saw them do was get the company to bring back employees that had been fired. The problem is, is that those employees should have been fired. My dues went to protect screw ups, not good. I worked my butt off for the company,and they treated me good in my opinion. These guys goofed off, goofed up, and keep their job.

Another problem I have is how unions will back political candidates/policies with $$$$, who the membership would not. It all comes down to $$$$ plain and simple.

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If you read a little on union history you will understand that unions aren't just about pay. The majority of the safety regulations that bring us home to our families everyday were started by unions. Not all are great, not all are bad. I take offense when i see hard working people who trample unions claiming that they hurt the worker. As with anything there will be corruption. I have been a part of one of the strongest and oldest union created, the Ironworkers. Back in the day when times were tough, you could get fired for no due cause simply because someone would work cheaper. When employers do this, they are compromising the quality and safety of the work and workers. People talk about unions coming in and all the workers take a pay cut, and maybe this is true, but i would rather make a bit less, and have some sort of advocate so that my bosses cant fire me over a disagreement. Big business has way too much power, and unions are designed to level the playing field. Every year, sometimes every couple of years, the unions and corporations go to the bargaining table to settle on an agreement. These agreements are worked out by BOTH parties. Some people act as if the workers have all the power. If thats the case why aren't the working class rich? I personally have taken a substantial pay cut because the higher ups in my union understand that they cannot expect a pay increase for the ironworkers when the economy is in a down turn. The company i work for has taken away our bonus program as well. I had a $30,000 dollar bonus coming to me in february of 2009, already on the books, on a job i had finished a year prior. They took it and stated that they can't justify giving bonuses when so many of our office people are being layed off. That is stealing. Nothing can be done because it is free money. I can tell you that my bosses are still getting their bonuses just the same. Who takes the pay cut? The workingman. We as a group decided that we would take a union wide paycut to save jobs, and keep the economy working. we didn't have to, we were promised a raise in our agreement. Not all unions are corrupt, but corruption is prevalent in ALL business. Our president was caught embezzling millions, and we payed for his attorneys. He was stealing our dues! That doesn't mean we walk away and bad mouth unions.
Unions aren't the problem, big business is. Take bethlehem steel. One of the largest steel corporations during industrialization. Belly up because we outsource everything to countries that don't have safety standards and can do it cheaper. I have heard so many people on this site bad mouthing videos or pictures of workers in other countries doing stupid things to get the job done with no thought about safety. If they had unions, safety would be addressed, people would go home to see their families.
Simply put, it isn't about pay, its about having a job and a means to express your opinions with out fear of retribution. If you think that is a bad thing, go work in a non-union asbestos abatement company for a few years and try to pay your medical when you are fired because you got sick. Hard working people are abused by big business every day, i carry rebar on my shoulder for a living, have three vertebrae that are bone on bone in my back, if i were non union they would have gotten rid of me a long time ago and i would be on disability. Instead i have a vested retirement, medical, dental, etc. When i retire i will have a pension that i payed into. If i were non union i would have zilch.

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Well first let me say this is my opinion.. I dont want to comment on someone else's opinion... just express mine.... I dont want to upset or anger anyone although I am just about positive I will ;) As a matter of fact... If your staunchly pro union I implore you please just to go read something else so we can stay friends? I wont bash anyone's pro union view or think any less of them if they dont share my mine....

First I am talking about today... Not what unions did for us 100, 75 or 50 years ago... To me this is like a black fellow being hateful of white people simply because 200 years ago some white people owned slaves... I have never owned a slave, he has never been a slave... Um? In my eyes there is little risk in our modern world in a global economy of educated people being taken advantage of... If you think Big Biz is out to get you... I feel its because the union told you that so they had something to protect you from... After all you dont need them if there is no big biz to save you from... What works best is a good relationship between worker and employer.. One where the worker shares in the success and the failure of the company... Where the worker is motivated to do the best job he can for the company because in turn rewards him the greatest. These employee "owned" company's where workers are given a stake are often times much more profitable and efficient...

I have never worked for a union, nor would I... I base my opinion on what my experience has been and what I have seen.. My feeling is I cannot be "victimized" or taken advantage of without my own consent... No one can force me to do anything I dont wish too... I am not one of the sheep that needs protection from the big bad company, nor do I want anyone's protection. Maybe I am the exception... I have walked off jobs because I didn't want to do what was asked.. I find it crazy to think someone would put there life at risk against there better judgment because there boss "told them too" I can think for myself and choose how and when to accept risk..

One of the situations that really strikes me is my friend Austin who is a bridge crane erector. He is a non union freelance ironworker {"scab?"} So this is how it looks to me... The union crane crew shows up for work at 7 Monday... they load there trucks and head out to the job... they get there about 930am... which is break time.. so at they get to work... 10... at 11 they break for there hour lunch... back to work at 12 and about 1 they start to put there tools away so they can be back to the shop by three to clock out... So on a given job it might take a crew of 5 guys 5 days to erect the crane... It seems to me whats important to the union crew is how little they can do for there paycheck.. They dont do anything other than there job "description", they dont give an ounce or hour more than what they are paid to do... I think the "us against them" union way has destroyed there motivation to do a good job because doing a good job is the right thing to do... Now Austin's way is he doesn't go into the shop in the morning.. He loads his truck the night before so he can go straight to the job... he doesn't take a lunch break or any break but just eats when he has time... he stays on the job 12 or more hours a day doing what ever it takes to get the job done as efficiently as possible.. So whats typical is Austin and a helper ( I was his helper for about a year ) could do the same job it would take a crew of 5 union guys 5 days to do... in two days..... We just about always could do the work of 5 union guys in half the time.... Which is why he was hired... He could charge twice as much per man hour as the union crew and still cost less for the job....

In the last 10 years I have watched the once great Washington company Boeing little by little forced to go elsewhere to build planes by the unions... My feeling is Boeing would like to train and employ local people but the union strangle hold makes it so they must go to other states and country's to be able to build an affordable product.... And there is no way you can tell me its "for the good of the worker" It shouldn't take $32/hr for someone to clean the toilet and sweep the floor or $45 to drive a forklift... The machinists should not make double just because they think they should... They strike for months at a time because they are unhappy with the 125K a year they are making now...
The unions have breed an environment where exceptional people are punished and the weak followers (sheep) thrive.. I cant hardly stand to listen to the entitlement mentality of the strikers... THEY OWE US!!! WE DEMAND!! really? why is that? because the union said so?

Oh and the garbage truck drives here where just on strike... They didn't think the $105K a year a 4 year veteran got was fair either..... Really?

mmmmm.....

Not every union member is a slacker... But my electrician buddy's tell me that 1 out of 10 journeyman they get out of the hall can keep up with a non union electrician... One that has to perform to keep his job...

I know there are good union guys... and My guess is there are good unions... But I think as a whole they do more harm than good and there time has passed...

I know some will take this personal and I dont mean it as an attack.. Its my experience, it may not reflect reality or even most cases... Its just my view... there are lots of union people about Seattle and I have many friends who are devout "Brothers" And even though we have heated arguments we are still friends....





I

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I have to agree with Monstermetal on this one. I also do structural steel fabrication/welding and a general contractor I did some work for hired another local shop to do a large job which was an earthquake moment frame of 2" thick flange I beam to replace a cinder block wall. The shop in question was not large enough to do this job so they figured that they would call the union hall and get some welders to weld up this big frame, being that union welders are supposed to be the "best of the best". Anyway to make a long story short when the ultrasonic inspector checked the welds every one failed and had to be gouged out and redone, do you think any of those union guys gouged out any welds? That shop used union labor and lost a lot of money. Personally I have done plenty of moment frames with UT tested welds and have not had any problems, I charge plenty of money and am smart enough to put some away, I do not need a union to act like my mother to take care of me. Another union experience comes from my dad who used to be union at Lockheed and he and some coworkers came up with a way to double the output without much more effort and their union rep got wind that these guys were doing more work than everyone else and he told them that they had to do things like everyone else - the slow way- the union way or get fired. I do not think that unions are the godsend that some people make them out to be and some I am sure are a good thing.I too am not trying to offend those of you who enjoy unions but in my experience they are not for me.
Rob

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You're correct Tim, but since the discussion came up it allows us to get some air and light into the room.

I have never been union but have felt the disapproval of my co workers when I could outwork them by a wide margin. I have been approached and told I was making everyone else look bad. My thought at the time was If we were playing volleyball (our lunch time passtime) I'd be a very valuable person and everyone would want me on the team. I'm not good at sports but I am good at working. I have been naive enough to believe that being a good hand was enough to secure a position with a company. Didn't need to worry about the money thing either. Momma did raise a fool.

Looked up Rick Berman got a lot of Star Trek references, seems he was the reason Star Trek was saved and also destroyed, depending on who's telling. Richard Berman on the other hand is a well known Washington lobbyist on behalf of the food industry, and is working tirelessly to thwart any change in the enforcement of our border laws so that restaurants won't be destroyed by expensive labor. What a guy. He is the driving force behind unionfacts.com.

So who do you want to believe some overpaid union rep or a D.C. lawyer? :rolleyes:

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I`ve worked both sides of the fence here.Been a member of the steelworkers,electrical workers and most recently a shipfitting shop steward for the IAM.The only reason I became a union member was because I wanted to work in what was a closed shop so I joined.
I have been learned on as a "scab" and had unethical bosses order me to do things they KNEW were wrong or dangerous.I stood my ground in both instances.

Unions are just another form of governance from what I`ve experienced.They have made things better for the common worker in the past and improved working conditions in the past but now I have a hard time telling union officers from politicians because they both seem to act and talk along similar party lines.
The last union I was in told me to slow down,stood by while management wrote me up for doing too good a job(exceeding contract specs in less hours with the same material as previously used),let some of my union brothers TRY(they didn`t succeed by any means) to intimidate or willfully hurt me.As a shop steward I was told to defend known thieves,liars and troublemakers and told to keep my mouth shut when I tried to do away with machinery and tools that we knew were disabling people(including me)as that was "Giving work away to other trades".
From what I saw at the ship yard I last worked in the only difference between union and management was the color of the hardhats.

As Larry said,Unions only seem to hurt and hold back talented and motivated workers.
People who can`t or won`t speak for themselves do well with union representation and there the unions shine,especially under unknowing or uncaring management.Unfortunately,lowlifes who benefit from being lost in the crowd seem to prosper in and be rewarded by unions.That`s the fault of the officers at the local and district halls.
I know Hey Jude and I(at a non-union shop) did more than one job by ourselves that we were told was bid at 5 union hands and did it in less that half the time.I went to work at BIW(Bath Iron Works) and found out why.The real talented hands at that yard want nothing to do with the union and while they enjoy cashing their checks they have nothing good to say about the boys hangin` at the hall.They told me I was fighting a losing battle when I became a shop steward(some were VERY disappointed in me at first) and unfortunately they were right.

If unions are so big and powerful and concerned about the American worker then why are we losing so many jobs to folks like China and 3rd world countries?My union supervisors would scream if I said I wanted to let grinding jobs go to other trades in the same union and facility.
Could it be the union bosses traded favors to let it happen or were paid to let it slide?That would never happen would it?
Bad politics will always be bad politics,whether it wears a union pin/label or not.

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I work at a factory that has a union but I'm an engineer and I'm on salary so I have nothing to do with it. Everyone knows I'm anti-union and it doesn't mean they hate me. I've been called things like "anti employee" but I still tell them the truth and it was pretty well covered by Monstermetal. I just get a good kick out of the those pro-union people when they hire a plumber for their home projects and they're the first one's to hire the non-union guy because he was cheaper. There are good hard working people here at the factory that can't be given a pay raise because of the union. Everyone wants this so called "level playing field" but it can't be argued; LIFE is NOT a "level playing field". Thanks for all posts because I find this stuff entertaining. Spears.

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I have been a union carpenter for 15 years now and there is a definite benefit to being union in the building trades. The safety conditions that are followed help to get us home to our families, our contractors take safety very seriously. Being in the union provides us with a decent wage and benefits package with a retirement plan that would not be possible without the strength of collective bargaining. Our work force is very efficient and well trained through apprentice programs and journeyman upgrade classes. When a contractor needs to man a job they will be provided qualified individuals in a timely manner. Is it a perfect system? No but I can assure you it is a lot better to have the strength of numbers in the construction industry. Ever heard of prevailing wage? Or the eight hour work day? You can thank our forefathers for those

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As I have stated before I have belonged to two unions, Ironworkers, and Sheetmetal Workers and my father was a devot IBEW man. As for my father the union worked very well for him and our family. That I think was a different time and era. As for me I can not say the same. I have experienced almost all the problems mentioned so far in this thread with other people. Which makes me think it is commmon practice.

In America today I think we have lost touch of a honest days work for a honest days pay and maybe some of the jobs that have been lost over seas might still be here and a pickup truck might not cost $40,000.

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First i would like to say that none of the views expressed will taint my view of anyone here. To me this is a discussion, and i have heard alot of good stuff. Monster metal hit the nail on the head. I agree with alot of what he said. Where i disagree is in the statements about the unions not doing any good in present times. People talk about the workplace and big business not being able to exploit us now days. All of the workplace regulations that are now in effect, including safety are brought about by unions. Yes i do see non-union workers doing rediculous things and putting themselves in rediculous safety situations on a DAILY basis so that they can keep their jobs. What do you think will happen if the unions go away? You think the safety will still be enforced? Trust me it won't. I sometimes work on union/non-union projects where some trades are very dangerous to work around. Do we really think an attorney in d.c. has our best interests in mind? Attorneys are the bottom feeders. There are plenty of union bottom feeders as well. The American Federation of Labor has, and still does good things for the working man. Let me just say i have worked on both sides as well. I spent a year and a half starting my own concrete business with a family member, i worked like a dog and made more money than i ever dreamed, only to see it dwindle away in taxes, and said family member stealing while i was doing all the work. I simply went back to the union for my benefits and retirement.
I agree with Larry about structural ironworkers, i can't speak to many other unions. I once visited seattle and the union there is mixed (structural and rebar), when i enquired about "booming" out and working up there for a short time, they snubbed their nose at me. They wanted nothing to do with me due to the fact that our local specializes, and is more efficient in reinforcing steel, mixed locals can't compete with our training. I am from local 416, we strictly deal with reinforcing steel, and in enourmous quantities due to seismic activity in Los Angeles. There are two ironworker unions, 433 (structural), and 416 (rebar) here in L.A.. I don't get along with most structural ironworkers due to the entitlement attitude they walk around with. As a matter of fact i have been in more than one altercation with a structural pig! I can totally understand the way people think about most unions. I guess i am an exception to the rule, i have been criticized many a time for working "too" hard. There are plenty of guys i work with that have the same mentality as me and bust their humps day in and day out. It only takes a few of the useless slugs to ruin it for all of us. Fortunately where i work i am a foreman and i can "fire" people at will if they don't put out. Here in Los Angeles, getting hired out of the hall is not the way to go if you want to work. I have never in 16 years had to go sit in the hall and wait for work. I have fired many people who were hired out of the hall though! I guess i am just positive about what the union has done for me, because i work hard and earn it. I agree that i don't need someone to tell me what to do and how to work, but simply put, this is where i can make the most money for me right now. I would go start a blacksmithing/fabricating business in a heart beat if i felt that it was a safe bet right now. My skill-set is in reinforcing steel and post tension, and with the years i spent training in apprenticeship (as a structural hand as well) the union works for me.
To put it simply, i understand where the anti-union sentiment comes from, i just take offense when people talk about it like its not needed anymore. Just like there are blacksmiths out there who gouge and cheat people (few and far between i'm sure), there are unions out there who abuse the positions they are in.
One more thing, not a man on this site can tell me that every cent isn't earned by me when i spend my day carrying rebar on my shoulder in 100 degree heat. I have seen navy seals quit in two hours when faced with what i deal with everyday! I know i am an exception to the rule, i just take offense because i am proud of what i do. Maybe it has nothing to do with unions at all. I would love nothing more than to be able to make a living at my own hand, it would be a dream to be able to make a living behind an anvil, maybe some day i will have a shop like Larry.
Hey Mike, i will have to remember that one, thats hilarious!

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Thanks Bob. I take pride in what ever i do. I think you are right, maybe it has nothing to do with unions. I am a firm believer that your job is what you make of it. Thanks for the kind words. I will say that it is not fun to be working for "the man" when i have had a taste of being a partner in a business, even a failed business. The air never smelled so sweet as it did when i was able to work for myself, and the customers i worked for reinforced what i felt. I go to work everyday knowing that i can always tell my boss to take this job and shove it, its just difficult to pull the pin and start the business i want when i make such great money and am only 12 years from an excellent pension.
I guess the local i work for is different than most because we get rid of most dead weight rather quickly due to the physical nature of the work. I have talked to guys who went back east to work in the ironworker unions back there. I've heard many stories of country club locals who hate guys like me because we ruin their "standards" of work, they are telling guys to slow down so they can preserve their cushy way of life. I do have respect for the representatives at my local, they have done and continue to do good things for us, and i have been a steady worker for my whole career. I know the work ethic my father instilled will help me succeed where ever i end up. Again, i always enjoy discussions like this where we can engage in interesting topics and views about things which are important to us. I for one have kept an open mind, and have learned from what everyone has presented.

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I have belonged to the Teamsters machinest union now for over 22 years. I do have a pension and medical, other than that they have never done anything for me. My biggest problems with the union is the protection of bad workers and their politics. My company has always treated me fair. I would guess that without the union I may not be making as much money, but if I didn't like it I would go elsewhere. But then again, I work hard and always get my job done and never pass up overtime, (which is always, I haven't worked an 8 hour day in years, it's always 10 to 12 hours per day), so perhaps my company would pay me more but the union wouldn't allow that! It has been my experience that if you work hard and do a good job the company will take care of you. I know this isn't always the case, but has been with me.

Actually, I'm looking out for myself. I'll fight both ways if I have too, against the union or the company if necessary. Which ever works best for me. Hey, the union looks out for themselves and their money, the company looks after their best interest, so why not me.

ALSO, I believe if you don't work you don't eat, period...So the slackers need to move on. I have been working since I was 13 and don't depend on anybody. I haven't needed the union for anything, I was hired by the company and I go to work every day and do my job.

OH......One day at work a grown man got a little cut on his finger, not more than a scratch. He call the shop steward and was thinking of going after the company for unsafe working conditions. It made me sick!!! I haven't talked to this person since and this was at least 2 years ago. The union didn't do anything since it was his fault and not unsafe working conditions, but still what has this country come to??

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Some interesting points of view here. Ironstein, it's good to hear you have a positive attitude. Many rod-busters from the hall are the opposite. If they all had your attitude, this thread probably wouldn't exist.

I have worked on both sides as well. The union did nothing for me. I was the highest educated and most qualified tech in the lab I used to work in, but was laid off twice because I was junior. I have seen union workers sleeping at their posts while I was working in the brewery, yet they had all the benefits and it was almost impossible to fire them. I have been told to 'slow down or else they will expect us to get that much work done every day'. I have been told to leave my shift early by a senior union rep. He said 'screw them before they screw you'.

My company is currently working along side a few other contractors as part of a $3 billion expansion of an oil refinery. We are doing extensive concrete foundation work in the existing refinery where, although it is a union shop, it is understood that the contractors can be open shop. However, the greenfield expansion area is another story. Nowhere is it written that it is a union only area. But, prior to bidding on the work, we were warned that if we didn't want our employee's tires slashed and paint scratched, we should keep our open shop divisions away from there. How does that help anyone? How is that fair?

Regarding safety concerns, the industry is really changing. Bidding on work doesn't always come down to the price in the envelope. Many owners are now demanding to see your safety stats before you are allowed to work there. You have to pre-qualify on many jobs (including safety) before you can even bid on work. The company I work for has very strict safety guidelines that must be followed. Our open shop divisions are held to the same standards as union divisions. Many of our subtrades whine that we put too much stress on safety. I realize that not all companies are like this, but with the way the rules are changing, more companies will be headed this way.

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Blacksmith shops = poor wages
Blacksmith shops = poor training
blacksmith shops = poor treatment
blacksmith shops = no insurance

In short, Blacksmith shops show the need for unions today is as strong as it was yesterday.


That's kind of why I do it for a hobby and work in another occupation right now. Kind of strange how so many of us would rather be doing that versus being at our jobs. hhmmmm.
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Wandering even further afield now...
Some of the best money I ever made was working either flat rate or to time studies,by the job,etc.
Flat rate would be familiar to mechanics as a lot of garages/shops used to have flat rate manuals they went by.
Time studies are something I came across in manufacturing and fabrication shops.The powers that be come down and time how long it takes for something to be made if everything goes as it should and that`s what that particular job pays regardless of how many hours the operator(s) spend on it.Production shops used to call it piece work,roofers were paid by the square rather than by the hour,etc.

I would much rather be paid for the amount of work I produce rather than by how many hours I am under someone else`s control.I set my own hours and pace and my income was only limited by my endurance and imagination/creativity.

I hear now that some companies are asking work cells(groups of workers) to bid on jobs.Who ever bids the lowest and still can produce to spec gets the work.
No OT,breaks are up to you.Short cuts abound.Here`s the machines,tooling and material,call us when it`s done and we`ll give you the next.
Hiring and firing pretty much handle themselves.Slack off one too many times and you lose your slot in a productive cell.Get stuck in a "slug" cell and you either don`t get the work and end up looking for a new job or get underpaid for the work you get and end up looking for a better job.Slick huh?

When did the relationship between labor and management stop being a symbiotic relationship and start being an adversarial competition?
There`s a thin line between letting the cream rise to the top and setting up a dog eat dog environment.

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Wandering even further afield now...
Some of the best money I ever made was working either flat rate or to time studies,by the job,etc.
Flat rate would be familiar to mechanics as a lot of garages/shops used to have flat rate manuals they went by.


My dad, a mechanic for 45 years (now retired), LOVED flat rate. He would be clocked in for 30 hours, and the store manager would be confused by the 50-80 hour paychecks my dad kept getting!

Was even better when the whole shop was working like that. Firestone/Bridgestone bought them all very nice leather jackets for the numbers they were putting up...then split up the team not long after. The store manager still couldn't figure out how 8 (I think) mechanics would ALL put up over twice the hours they were in the building.

The manager was no fool, he knew the system and loved it too. It is just rare to have that many gifted and experienced mechanics in one place for any length of time.

Phil
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Gerald, great information. I have issues with the same thing, but on a different level. I can't find any hard working apprentices. The ones i do get are entitled and refuse to work hard. When i "broke" in working rods, my shoulders bled for a week. The whole crew tortured me and played pranks, but after a time they knew i had heart, and they taught me. I learned from old timers and my apprenticeship school. The old timers finally relented and taught me because they could see i was INTERESTED. That is the key. Now when i get an apprentice, i'm lucky if he shows up on time, he could care less about learning the trade, and he expects to be pampered.
I had this apprentice a few weeks ago. Shows up to the job with an attitude, trying to fit in with the guys i guess. I gave him a shot and put him to work with the rest of the guys. Pretty soon he comes up to me, (i'm the foreman) and asks me to hold his car keys! One of my regular guys yells at him to keep his personal stuff in his lunch box. He turned around and yelled at the guys "do you want me to work or do you want me to go to my lunch box"! Next he goes back to work and works for maybe an hour and comes over to ask me what i want him to do. Meanwhile he left the other two guys working, carrying number 11 bars 65-0 long by themselves. I told him that if he came all the way across the job to ask me what to do again, i would have a learning experience in store for him. So he hustles back to work, and not ten minutes later he comes over where i was working and tells me he cant carry iron anymore, he wants to tie wire it. I was getting a bit pissed, so i grabbed a cut off piece of #9 bar about six feet long, i painted it orange. I handed it to him and told him to take it everywhere he went on the job. If he didn't know what to do, he had to hold the bar over his head and stand there, either myself or one of my lead guys would find him, he was no longer allowed to ask for instructions because he was just wasting time trying to walk all the way across the job! It worked like a charm, that kid started working hard, he was doing everything he could to not have to hold that bar over hid head. I must say it was amusing when he did hold it over his head! He would be standing there with a pained look on his face trying to keep that bar over his head waiting for one of us to come over.
After a few days, we started teaching him about the trade, and even the guys eased up on him a bit. I finally thought he was getting it, just stay busy and work hard, try to watch and learn, the guys or myself will help you when we think you need it. He comes into the job the next day, and first thing in the morning he was standing by his car cussing and yelling , so i was walking by and asked if he forgot his maxi pads (mind you this kid is brand spanking new, didn't know anything, and was more of a burden than a help to the crew), he looked at me and said "no but i brought yours m***** f**** " I looked at him and asked him if he was serious, he said a few more nasty expletives and i told him to go home, he was fired.
The guy called me an hour later, no appology, and asked if he was coming back the following day! I told him no. He went to the hall and filed a grievance. The business agent came out and asked me if i would take him back. I told him i would quit before i worked a guy like him! Most of the business agents know me and respect me so the kid never got to file a grievance. But he did tell them that we were harrassing him.
Unbelievable, i guess you have to treat everyone with kid gloves these days.

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